There were times at home when Richard would have one of his outbursts and break things and then lock himself in his office. Merrick would ask him to please calm down, to “please relax, Daddy.” During these episodes, Richard would explain in a matter-of-fact way, “You know if . . . if I kill Mommy, if something happens and she dies, I’ll have to kill you all . . . I can’t leave any witnesses.”
“Yes, Daddy. I know, Daddy,” she said.
As strange and horrible a thing as this was to tell a child, Richard was trying to let Merrick know in advance—out of consideration—what might happen. He wanted her to understand that he was doing such a thing out of . . . love. Only out of love.
He loved Barbara too much.
He loved the children too much.
That was the problem. The only way he could deal with their loss, if he inadvertently killed Barbara, was to kill them. That was how Richard had dealt with all his problems since he was a child.
“But you, Merrick . . . You’ll be the hardest to kill. You understand that?”
“Yes. Daddy,” she said, and she did understand this. She knew she was his favorite, and she coveted that.
---from The Ice Man